Quick catchup. After several tours of Halong Bay, I’ve had 2 days of to recuperate. And I needed them.
Yesterday I stayed up till 4:00am to watch England be crap, then rose at 8:30am as I can’t sleep for more then 4 hours at present. I collared James, a chap from the US, and we went to see The A-Team at Vincom Towers, which was more enjoyable than it should have been.
The afternoon was spent catching up with you lot, followed by an early night.
Up at 7am today to ensure I could make it to the footie at Long Bien where the Blue Dragon kids have their weekly kickabout. A small turnout of 40 or so didn’t mar proceedings (almost everyone here stays up to watch the World Cup) and the under 14s were presented with a trophy from a local competition.
I took another backpacker, Sean, who was hugely impressed with the turnout and the work being done by BDCF. He chatted to Michael and Tho while IÂ embarrassedÂ myself on the pitch. Hey, I was barefoot. And I suck.
After a drink with the guys, Sean and I headed down to Vincom to catch The Karate Kid which was – like The A Team – far better than it had any right to be. We got back to the hostel in time for free beer then happy hour, followed by me typing this up before I head for bed.
Off to Halong Bay again in the morning and back on Wednesday!
Raffle entries closed yesterday and a huge “thank you” to the entrants, of which there weren’t many but each was very generous indeed. Please, if you missed the competition do consider still making a donation. As happens annually, the east coast of Vietnam has taken a weather-related battering and Blue Dragon needs your funding to help them rebuild their homes, and eat in the meantime.
I snipped up a few bits of paper and dropped them into a hat (actually a Tescocarrier bag, but let’s not be picky). A quick rummage and the winner that came out was…
Which is good for me as I think she’s the only UK-based entrant so it will keep the postage cost down. I actually met her a few days ago and I could have handed her the football shirt personally. Instead, I will trust it to our increasingly dodgy postal service. Keep an eye open for it in a week or so, Janice.
Again, thank you all for your entries and generosity!
OK, folks. Here is a chance to own a very exclusive Real Betis Vietnam football shirt as worn by the amazing kids at the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation. There were never many of these shirts and BDCF are looking for new sponsors so there simply will not be any more of this particular design.
Featuring the Real Betis badge and name, BDCF logo and Catholic Relief Services on the sleeve, the shirt has a large number 7 on the back along with the charity URL. It’s lightweight material with “breathable” fabric under the arms and down the sides. It is brand new – I’ve worn it once to check it for size and fit.
The size is “XL” and this is a western XL by my judgement, not a Vietnamese one. The V-collar means it hangs off me. I’m an average size for a 35 year-old white guy.
Back of shirt
So here’s how it works. I will cover all costs involved in this little raffle including postage to wherever the lucky winner resides. Hopefully we’ll raise more than the overheads! “Tickets” are one Australian Dollar each and you “buy” them by making a donation to Blue Dragon via PayPal. When you donate, please leave a comment here and tell me how much you donated and therefore how many times your name will be popped into the hat.
We’ll say the deadline is October 15th 2009 which gives you the thick end of a month to save up. I’ll pick the winner at random then and get in touch with them via email, so please include a valid mail address on your comment. Don’t worry – nobody can see your email address except me and I promise with hand on heart that I will only use said address to let you know if you’ve won and to get a mailing address from you.
I’ll be cross-posting this to the other blogs shortly so apologies for duplication. I just heard from Mike at Blue Dragon about an author, John Shors, who’s written a novel based on street kids in Vietnam. Mike read the draft and has approved it – which is impressive given the usual stereotypes of street children. Apparently Shors has avoided all of these and Mike should know, given the fact he’s been working with these kids for so many years.
The book, Dragon House, is published by Penguin and available pretty much anywhere. You can order an autographed copy direct from John at the official web site… or if you go to Blue Dragon’s page and donate upwards of $100, John will send you a free one! Either way, part of the proceeds from the novel will be wending their way to the kids in Vietnam.
I may possibly be heading to Vietnam again later this year and of course, if I do, one of my priority stops wil be Hanoi to see the kids at the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation again. I’ve been chatting to Michael there recently (we’ve had a couple more generous donations via the 1000 Mile Walk page), and he’s currently in Australia doing some much-needed fundraising.
Thing is, as everyone worldwide pretty much has to tighten their belts as the money dries up. People can’t afford to give cash away. Sadly, though, the need for this money doesn’t abate. Children still need help, education… rescuing.
Mike recently posted the following video on the VietnamStreets blog. It shows a young boy who has just been rescued from a sweat shop. He simply didn’t believe that Michael and the team were there to free him from the slave-driving filth who were making him work 16+ hours a day for nothing. They handed him a telephone so his mother could explain herself.
Now you tell me. Isn’t his reaction – the tears, the relief, the knowledge he was once again free – worth a few pounds, dollars, yen, euros or whatever? Please, please, please – spare a few bucks. I know times are tight. But the price of a couple of pints can make a huge difference to these children.